Heroes, Travel and Gratitude!

October 19, 2017

Heroes, Travel and Gratitude!

Have you noticed that every trip is heroic and every travel adventure involves heroes and deep gratitude? That's been true for our many journeys on our world tour, but even more so on our recent summer in Europe, once-in-a-lifetime mother-daughter trip that was  the #MozartIgniteTour!

Heroes, Travel and Gratitude!

We have so many heroes to thank because they went way above and beyond all expectations and keep us glowing in happy memories and lifetime gratitude, long past our adventure together. 

Heroes, Travel and Gratitude!  Mozart & Digital Maverick

First and foremost is our friend and educator,  Drew Buddie (or as we've known him as for over a decade on twitter, @digitalmaverick).He is a wonderful and creative human being! What is mind-boggling about this trip is just how many people that I have been connected with for a long time online, but never met in person, until this trip. Drew helped Mozart get some English books for a CTY class when she was 7 and wintering in Spain just because he saw her need from a tweet I sent out. I am always in awe of the beautiful souls we attract to us and their outstanding kindness and generosity. 

He also invited her to speak at the NAACE conference and at a TED Talk, which were precursors for her 25 minute keynote speech in the UK this summer. He helped connect us to Martin Baily and invited us to stay at his enchanting home in London. The photo above is us getting dinner before Mozart performed in London as well as another dear friend from London (that I have known since 1988 when I stayed with her after a trip to Russia), fashion designer, Louise Lautman who joined us. 

Heroes, Travel and Gratitude!  Mozart Dee and Martin Baily

Educator Martin Baily ( @animate2educate) was stupendous in creating the Tech on the Tyne events at the prestigious Baltic Centre of Contemporary Art and a joy to work with. He was the one who created this large Ed Tech Conference and asked Mozart to be a Keynote  Speaker and flew us over there, thus the catalyst for our whole trip! 

He also had her sing at the Talk on the Tyne event and at the Lanchester Endowed Parochial Primary School, which was a spectacular experience as it was Mozart's first at a school and thus so enlightening at what a great fit that was as they loved each other and it was golden moment in time inspiring Mozart to do more of that in the future. 

French friends and travel to France

Our trip to Edinburgh was on our own, but when we took the Eurostar to Paris, we were blessed by being met by French/English translator extraordinaire, Nadine Touzet which was wonderful and  made it much easier for Mozart to buy the Eurail tickets we needed  onto southern France &  Spain at the station. We last saw her when Mozart was 10, so much to catch up on. I first met her about 10 years ago on Twitter and Facebook through common interests. 

Travel to  Provence with Mozart Dee

Corinne Russo is a wonderous new friend ( but introduced to us by an old friend I've known for over a decade on Twitter  Claude Benard who is a contributor on tnoos and runs hotelitour). She lives in the Luberon in Provence as has her family for generations and has done tourism here for twenty years, so no one could do it better. 

Mozart Dee singing  in Provence - rehearsal

We had the full Provence experience to the nth degree with so much heart and creativity and stayed at extraordinary places like  La Gloriette B&B   in Apt and the hotel Mas de Grés where Mozart performed. She even got the sound equipment for us and set it up as her brother is a musician! 

Claude Benard at Marseille station

When we left the Luberon, we headed south by high-speed TGV train to the romantic Saint Charles Station poised high on a hill with sweeping views of majestic Marseille including Notre Dame de la Garde in the distance. There we were met by my long time Twitter friend ( who I had never met in person) Claude Benard who helped us navigate down the ornate, grand staircase and get settled into our vacation apartment nearby as the owner did not speak English. He made our whole time in France flow beautifully. 

traveling to Marseille

Our next step was Barcelona which has been one of our "homes" and bases for many years. One of the things that makes it so special are dear friends who live nearby the luxury campsite where we stay. Mozart and their daughter met when they were about 7 or 8 and have remained friends and they love to travel as much we do, so we bonded as families, even though we communicate in Spanish and mine is horrible. Our kids translate when needed! 

We keep in touch from time to time via Skype and FaceTime between our travels and we once even got a Barcelona police escort upon our return to the campsite after many months away. The girls have endless memories of playing together every summer at the kids club, pools and riding their bikes all around exploring. 

Mozart Dee and friend in Barcelona

We would often have lunch or dinner together and talk into the night as the girls played. Now they are almost grown, both great students, happy trilingual teens with bright futures ahead. We often did "long stays" here in spring and fall when we lived in Europe and this generous and loving family helped to make it home for us!

travel friends

Luckily, the dad in the family was on vacation when we arrived and he went way out of his way to make our stay spectacular. He even keeps an eye on our camper van stored nearby and he took us there. It was a thrill for Mozart to see it again after so many years, like a dinosaur frozen in time these last five years, all our things just as we left them, reminding us of that happy time. 

Dinner with friends making paella in Spain

They invited us for dinner again as we did in the past, as both families love food and their homemade Valencica paella is a legend for us that we adore. Years ago, we taught them how to make home made sushi that we had to invent on the road and they turned us onto Spanish treats. 


Sadly, I some how didn't get a photo of the beautiful mom to this clan this time as we were so busy just enjoying ourselves, but you can see her joy and sweetness in this photo from our blog when our kids were younger at our favorite campsite nearby their home. 

Mozart Dee with Chris & Michelle Chaplow

One of the best resources for us before we started our world travel to help us pick our village in Spain was the amazing website We got to know Chris Chaplow and Michelle from twitter conversations and we are super impressed with this amazing couple and grateful we got to meet them on this trip in person. 

Chris Chaplow from

They are brilliant, super talented, super kind,  hardworking "doers" from Britain who have traveled the world and made Andalucia their home for the last twenty years.  Interestingly,  Michelle grew up in the Newcastle area in the UK where we started our trip, so even advised us on that. 

Michelle Chaplow

Michelle Chaplow is a gifted photographer of luxury & historic hotels and founder of Hotel Essence Photography. We were so blessed to have this bilingual pro team sponsoring Mozart and helping us with arrangements at the gorgeous  Fuerte Hotel and La Casa in the Torrox Pueblo for Mozart's performances that made Andalucia one of the best stops on our tour. 

Marianne of East of Malaga and Jeanne Dee in Spain

Chris also reconnected us to Marianne from the blog  East of Malaga ( criminal lawyer turned travel blogger) and I know her from many  lovely conversations we'd have online at StumbleUpon in my early years of blogging. They've all been big fans of Mozart's and it was Marianne's idea to connect us with La Casa as she had done a UK travel show with them about hotels. Small world! So lovely to finally meet her and her husband and enjoy Mozart's performance together over a great meal in Andalucia! 

Mozart Dee with Swedish friends in Costa Brava

I met Jessica from Sweden around 25 years ago when I was looking online for a Swedish penpal for my sweet eighty year old neighbor who was born in Sweden. She and I just hit it off despite me being a generation older and we developed a relationship through long emails when the internet was young. Now she is a psychologist and entrepreneur doing great work. 

We happened to have children around the same time so we have been blessed to spend time with them at their enchanting Swedish home and on the road vacationing together in Barcelona . She connected us with a fantastic new Gäst  B&B in Costa Brava run by a family they have known for years. There were five teens there and they had a very special time together while we parents relaxed.  

Travel and gratitude

Thus the anatomy of a "wing it" trip and how heroes come to the rescue and bring their skills, love, ideas and energy to create perfection. We couldn't have asked for a more magical trip for fun and Mozart's first European solo concert tour. It does take a village to raise a child and I am endlessly grateful for the wondrous souls that we attract around the world as "our village" thanks to social media and time in person!  

Have you ever had travel heroes? 

Related articles

Teen Singer Mozart's Speech at NAACE Conference to UK Educators!
Road Trip Across America
Travel to LA Without a Car?
Best Provence Farmers' Market - Coustellet - Soul Travelers 3
Visiting the Best Lavender Fields in Provence - Soul Travelers 3


« previous | | next »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Stunning photos!
Thanks for sharing the Heroes travel and gratitude articles are great.

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner